National Volunteer Week is organized by Points of Light and is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together to tackle tough challenges and build stronger, more resilient communities. Each year, they shine a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve, recognizing and thanking volunteers who lend their time, talent and voice to make a difference in their communities.
National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. Plan or attend an event to celebrate the impact of volunteers in your community, and inspire others to serve.
Five Presidents on the Power of Service
President George H. W. Bush speaks on the power of volunteerism and highlights the importance of helping others through service. "There can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others" -President George H. W. Bush
Causes and Solutions
The passion of volunteers is ignited when people can help the causes they care about. Points of Light inspire, equips and mobilizes volunteers in support of these main causes:
Veterans and Military Families
Joining together with and for our veterans addresses critical needs and helps build stronger communities. Points of Light’s military programs connect service members, veterans and their families with their communities through service and support.
Volunteer to support your local military community.
Learn how your community can support military members and veterans.
Donate to support the mobilization of thousands of volunteers.
A strong community is a resilient community, one that’s ready and able to work together if things go wrong. For a community to thrive and survive, residents, nonprofits, governments, and businesses must plan for how they will respond to and recover from disaster together.
Get ready with these disaster preparedness resources.
Volunteer in a relief and recovery effort.
Learn how volunteers can help in a local response effort.
Everyone and every family should have a chance at a better life. In an economically sustainable community, people help each other learn how to catch up and then get ahead. In these vibrant communities, people are able to achieve financial stability by becoming better managers of their money and of their futures.
Learn how AmeriCorps VISTA members train volunteers as financial coaches.
Mentor youth to help them prepare for college and careers.
Contact us to volunteer as a financial coach in your community.
Youth and Education
When all members of the community become involved in the lives of youth, student attendance and the quality of education greatly improve. Youth have the power to make their mark on the world when they are empowered through service, and can access the education and resources that can help them give back to their communities.
Learn how service prepares youth for college and careers.
Inspire youth to get excited about community service.
Find out how young adults boost the academic achievement of low-income students.
Civil and Human Rights
Social change doesn’t just happen – people and communities must work together to advocate for freedom and equality without bounds or limits. It is a transformation that takes understanding, acceptance, cooperation and volunteer service.
Volunteer during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
Host an America's Sunday Supper.
Donate to support the MLK Day of Service
To do their world-changing work, nonprofits must deliver effective programs and also improve their ability to achieve their mission. Volunteers – and the skills, energy and time they give – offer one of the best ways for nonprofits to become greater at doing good.
Get certified in using volunteers to increase capacity.
Access training, consulting and other tools.
Volunteer and help a nonprofit in your area do more.
Innovative social change comes in many forms – and can come from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Successful social entrepreneurs often include people as part of the solution to critical social problems. These entrepreneurs work to create greater, more accessible pathways to economic opportunity.
Apply for support for your for-profit or nonprofit startup.
Recognizing the exceptional work of volunteers keeps their good work going, and inspires others to serve. Celebrating the power of individuals to create change in their communities can also bring more attention and resources to a cause.
Nominate a hero in your life for an award.
Visit the only national monument to honor volunteers.
Get inspired by volunteer stories.
Volunteer to Fight Against Hunger
AARP and AARP Foundation: These organizations work with state and community partners and volunteers to help older adults enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commission research on the causes and consequences of senior hunger, and award grants to help develop or expand sustainable solutions for older-adult anti-hunger programs. Volunteer Opportunities: Community outreach, nutrition education, community events.
Feeding America serves 37 million people, including nearly 14 million children and 3 million seniors, through local agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters and after-school programs. Feeding America food banks provide nutrition education programs. In addition, the organization’s network operates programs that promote self-sufficiency, educates the public about the problem of hunger and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Volunteer Opportunities: Food rescue, driving, loading, repacking, community outreach, food banks.
No Kid Hungry. Families at risk of hunger need access to food and the skills to make healthy meals with their resources, nutrition education is a key part of the No Kid Hungry campaign. Through its Cooking Matters program, nutrition educators and chefs equip low-income families with skills to stretch their food budgets, shop smarter, make healthier food choices and cook delicious, affordable meals. Volunteer Opportunities: Community event planning, nutrition education, fundraising, advocacy.
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Nutrition is a key component to its work, whether through an emergency feeding program during a disaster or famine or an established community clinic offering nutrition education and support to young mothers. UNICEF is the world’s largest supplier of ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children and helped increase the world’s supply of therapeutic food by more than 9,000 percent between 2008 and 2012. Volunteer Opportunities:
Fundraising, advocacy, education.
The World Food Programme serves the world’s least food secure in regions where hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Last year, the organization distributed 3.5 million metric tons of food to 97 million people in 80 countries. The World Food Programme works to prevent hunger through helping communities build assets, educate its people and develop stronger and more dynamic infrastructures - from establishing environmental sustainability and connecting farmers with markets to supporting breastfeeding initiatives and introducing school meal programs. The World Food Programme is funded entirely by voluntary donations. Volunteer Opportunities: Fundraising, advocacy, education.
Find Your Local Food Bank
Fundraising, advocacy, education.
A global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. They are the youth division of Points of Light.
GenerationOn has brought the nation's leading youth service organizations and programs under one umbrella including Children for Children, The League, Learning to Give, and Kids Care Clubs, HandsOn Schools. By partnering with teachers, parents, schools, community organizations and businesses, generationOn gives kids the opportunity to see firsthand the issues in their communities and the tools and resources they need to respond and become part of the solution”.
Points of Light connects people to their power to make a meaningful difference by providing access to tools, resources, and opportunities to help volunteers use their time, talent, voice, and money to meet the critical needs of our communities.
1. Food and Nutrition Magazine, 9 International and Local Groups Fighting Food Insecurity and Hunger
2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volunteer Opportunities